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We all want to get the best performance out of our Linux games and Feral Interactive's GameMode tool continues to help towards this. While the initial release of GameMode was quite limited, they haven't stopped working on it.

They've just announced the release of GameMode 1.3, which adds in a bunch of pretty useful features including: disabling the screen-saver, a "gamemoderun" helper script to do the necessary setup (set LD_PRELOAD) to enable GameMode on games which do not support it themselves and increase I/O priority of game processes.

All of that sounds quite nice but there's two other pretty huge features added in this release. For those with either an NVIDIA or AMD GPU, there's now experimental overclocking/performance level configuration.

They also noted "Various other minor fixes and improvements". See the release notes on GitHub here.

I really hope this tool keeps on advancing, I've no doubt there's plenty more ways for them to keep pushing Linux gaming performance further to benefit everyone. The fact that Feral aren't keeping this for themselves, is also another reason to love what they do, it also means others can help make it even better like with this release having multiple authors.

One of the contributors, Marc Di Luzio, who previously worked for Feral Interactive and now Unity (while also doing tooling for Valve) teased on Twitter "More cool things to come, now that some foundations have been laid..." which sounds interesting.

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DerpFox 15 March 2019 at 8:35 pm UTC
Is this a tool for us users of for game developers?
Eike 15 March 2019 at 8:41 pm UTC
DerpFoxIs this a tool for us users of for game developers?

For users (but game developers can activate it in their games).
CFWhitman 15 March 2019 at 8:42 pm UTC
DerpFoxIs this a tool for us users of for game developers?

It's for users. It tweaks your system settings temporarily to increase performance during gameplay.
mao_dze_dun 16 March 2019 at 7:00 am UTC
Does it give any tangible performance improvements? I've known about it for a while, but never actually used it.
mirv 16 March 2019 at 9:55 am UTC
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mao_dze_dunDoes it give any tangible performance improvements? I've known about it for a while, but never actually used it.

As always with such things, the answer is: it depends. Some games it might help with, others not. The basic idea of setting performance mode cpu governor improves fps a good deal for me in certain scenarios, but makes virtually no difference in others - and it's not always where you might expect.

Most of what "GameMode" does are things I might do myself before playing specific games, but it would probably help making manage it all somewhat easier. For my part, the only reason I don't use this tool is because it relies on systemd (it kind of has to, but I use a different init system).
jens 16 March 2019 at 10:40 am UTC
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mao_dze_dunDoes it give any tangible performance improvements? I've known about it for a while, but never actually used it.

When activated it tweaks your machine for performance at the cost of power consumption. Like @mirv stated, it depends on the game and machine if usage yields measurable improvements. Gamemode is part of the standard Fedora repositories, I have installed it and modified all my steam launch commands to activate it automatically when starting a game.

I guess there is a reason that Feral recommends using it. The DXVK wiki also recommends to change to CPU governor (which is what gamemode does among others).


Last edited by jens at 16 March 2019 at 10:44 am UTC
slavezeo 16 March 2019 at 2:29 pm UTC
Gamemode has had a great impact on playing World of Warcraft under wine. My system had been running wow fine but about a week ago the performance got chunky as heck with monster FPS dips. It was pretty much unplayable on any settings mode from 1-10 on the graphics options. I saw gamemode released the new version and decided to try it for the first time. I was pretty impressed with how wow was now performing. Before, when it was working properly, I played on graphics option 7 with minimal FPS dips and a steady 99 maxed FPS. In the major cities with high population I got between 50-60 FPS. Now I play on graphics option 10 with the same performance as I originally had.

I must have had my system all misconfigured because comparatively it was running pretty poorly for gaming. I haven't tested anything else yet as I only installed gamemode on saturday morning. Fixing wow was my big win for gamemode so I'm happy. I'll check out some of my native games in a bit and report back.
Dysomnia 16 March 2019 at 2:34 pm UTC
Is there a way to globally activate gamemode? I don't want to add the launch options manually to every single game, and even if I took that time there are some conflicts when other launch options are present.

Right now I'm manually setting my CPU governor to performance before gaming and it almost always makes a difference, especially with Vulkan / DXVK / Proton (Fallout 4, Rise of the Tomb Raider...), but I'd like to check if the other alleged tweaks of gamemode can lead to even better performance.
Arnvidr 16 March 2019 at 4:10 pm UTC
mirvFor my part, the only reason I don't use this tool is because it relies on systemd (it kind of has to, but I use a different init system).
It seems this is only because it uses sd-bus. The developers seem very open to pulling a change from anyone willing to implement an alternative. For you, it might be interesting to know that elogind also provides the sd-bus APIs, so you could try installing that. Patching the build system to build with elogind instead of systemd seems to be a one-line change.

Personally I'd be more interested to see what the actual changes the lib does, and just make those changes permanently to my system. CPU governor and kernel scheduler could be easy fixes at least.
wleoncio 16 March 2019 at 5:17 pm UTC
If I have a beefy setup, should I bother with GameMode? It helped heaps with my low-tier setup, but I don't know if I'd be introducing unnecessary tear to my new parts.
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